SES invests in O3b Networks

Published November 30th, 2009 - 01:55 GMT
SES joins existing investors Google, Liberty Global, HSBC and North Bridge Venture Partners
Global satellite operator SES S.A. (Paris:SESG) (LuxX:SESG) and Jersey, Channel Islands-based O3B Networks Limited (O3b), announced today that SES has made a minority investment in O3b to support the development of O3b’s satellite-based, global internet backbone designed to reach the “other three billion people in the developing world who today do not have access to the internet. SES joins Google, Liberty Global, HSBC and North Bridge Venture Partners to become a large investor in O3b.
SES will invest a total of 75 MUSD in the company, and will provide engineering and commercial support to O3b in order to assist the company’s development.
O3b is building the world’s first ultra-low latency, fiber speed satellite network to serve as a global internet backbone and next generation backhaul infrastructure for people and businesses in emerging markets. The company will be able to combine the speed of a fiber network with the global reach of a satellite system, and will partner with telecommunications providers and internet service providers (ISPs) to serve billions.
“O3b’s positioning perfectly meets our vision of bringing people closer together through the power of satellites, said Romain Bausch, President and CEO of SES. “Through its innovative satellite technology, O3b will be able to provide emerging markets with fast, competitively priced internet connectivity that is currently only available to the developed world. As we look to celebrate our 25th anniversary next year, and reflect on how far we have come since we were a young start up company, we are excited to embrace and support this next generation infrastructure initiative, and to help O3b make their vision – and ours – a reality.
We are delighted to welcome SES alongside our existing investors, said Greg Clarke, CEO of O3b. “SES already reaches billions of people through the global reach of their satellite network. Now they will be able to join us in offering an advanced solution to those who have so far been poorly served, or completely cut off, from the internet – the greatest business and information resource of our time. The financial, technical and commercial support of SES will help make O3b one of the most innovative communications companies on the planet, bringing broadband internet access to the “other three billion who currently have no access to these services.
O3b will initially launch eight satellites that will be placed in medium earth orbit (8,000 kilometers from the earth), which is some four times closer to the planet than geostationary satellites at over 35,000 kilometers, and accounts for the low latency. Based on O3b’s current spectrum allocation in the Ka frequency band, the company has the option to launch many more satellites in the future. This innovative satellite system will cover approximately 70 percent of the world’s population with fiber quality internet connectivity at attractive terms and conditions.

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